Lateral Collateral Ligament Injury
Summary of Lateral Collateral Ligament Injury
The lateral collateral ligament is vital to ensuring knee stability, and can become injured if the inside of the knee receives a direct blow or force as this action causes the outer knee ligament to become stressed. It is a common sporting injury.
Lateral Collateral Ligament Injury FAQ's
The ligament is one of four ligaments that it key to the stability of the knee joint, so any injury is not just painful but can also cause stress to the knee. As a ligament, it is made up of a tough fibrous material which controls excessive movement within the joint – if a direct blow causes the joint to stretch or widen suddenly, the ligament becomes over stretched which results in inflammation and pain to the knee.
The most common symptom is pain around the outside of the knee, alongside bruising and swelling. The knee joint will also feel tender, and the pain will be considerably worse when bending or using the knee.
Minor injuries can be resolved within 3 weeks, with moderate damage taking a little longer – up to 6 weeks. If the ligament is completely ruptured, surgery may be required and the recovery period will stretch as long as 3 months.
The common cause is a direct impact to the inside of the knee, often when the knee is already slightly bent. This is often seen during contact sports. The lateral collateral ligament becomes stretched with the force and the fibres can become torn, resulting in the pain felt by the patient.
The initial treatment recommended involves RICE therapy – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Once 72 hours have passed, the patient can move into the rehabilitation stage which includes gentle exercise and gentle stress to ligaments which will in turn allow the scar tissue to form in a uniform way that promotes healing and full repair. The exercises you will be prescribed will start with moving the knee in a structured straight line before moving into more fluid motions. Heat treatment may also be recommended further down the recovery line to promote healing
The individual exercise program will gradually stress and exercise the ligament – this is very important in ensuring a strong repair of the ligament by ensuring the scar tissue is laid down in a uniformed manner. Failure to do this may result in a poor repair that can prolong the injury and predispose you to the injury recurring.
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